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44 star American national flag, made in the period between 1890 and 1896. The 44th state, Wyoming, joined the Union on July 10th, 1890. The 44 star flag became official on July 4th, 1891, but flag-makers began adding the 44th star to flags well before this date. The 44 star flag was generally used until Utah joined the Union as the 45th state in 1896. The stars of the flag are arranged in an interesting lineal configuration of staggered, zigzagging rows that begin at the top of the hoist and end in the lower, fly-end corner. These are press-dyed on wool bunting. The press-dyeing process was patented in 1849 as a method of printing flags on wool. It was primarily used during the 1876 centennial era by the U.S. Bunting Company, which began making press-dyed flags for the U.S. military in 1869. This was one of the first firms to successfully produce high quality wool bunting fabric in the United States, and while its owners worked diligently to master the press-dyeing process, it was apparently more costly than one might presume, because it never caught on in America as a popular means of flag production. Also called resist-dyeing, to achieve the white stars, for example, pieces of waxed fabric or paper in the shape of stars had to be cut out and carefully placed on both sides of the white wool bunting. The fabric was then dyed blue and the areas where the silhouettes were placed would not absorb the dye and thus be left white. The same process was repeated to make the red stripes. The same result could also be achieved through the use of dye-inhibiting solvent that was applied to the fabric before the dye was applied. This inexact art would often add crude characteristics, such as stripes with irregular lines and in various widths, and stars with inconsistent shapes, in slightly varying sizes. Although the results were good on this particular flag, the method probably resulted in frequent loss of product and wasted time, from flags that had bleeding or misprint issues and were of too poor quality to sell. The stripes and canton are made of wool bunting that has been pieced with treadle stitching. There is a starched linen sleeve, through which a braided rope was inserted and stitched into place for hoisting. There is a wooden toggle at the top of the rope and a sewn loop at the bottom. "2 1/2" is stenciled along the bottom in black ink to indicate size in yards. Size was typically marked in feet, so this is a bit unusual. Press-dyed flags were much more popular in Britain, where wool manufacture and printing were more advanced. Because the British were known to be producing press-dyed flags in this period, because the printing of the stars is so uniform, and because the markings are in yards as opposed to feet, it is reasonable to assume that this flag is of British origin. Press-dyed flags made in England often had a more elongated profile, like this example. They also are commonly found with open sleeves instead of grommets. Toggles or clips are often seen in British-made flags to aid in attaching the flag to a rope. All of these factors lend further support to the theory of British manufacture. Mounting: The flag has not yet been mounted. We employ a full time conservation team that provides mounting and framing services.
Inventory Number:


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1890-1896
Origin: US
Condition: There is very minor mothing, but there are no significant condition issues.
Measurements: Flag: 42.5" x 88" Frame: Unframed
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
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